The Rantings of a Former Fat Man

Change your diet and change your life - Tim Kaufman

Ain’t nobody got time for that…

Braun_ABW41_(silber)

When I was young my mom once told me that if you needed something done to ask the busiest person you know. Of course, I had no clue what that meant but somehow that has stuck in my mind for over 30 years.

As I type the first few lines and start to gather thoughts I can already tell that this is going to end up a harsh and abrasive genuine rant.  I deal with this issue on a daily basis from many different people and I get aggravated. The aggravation doesn’t come from the initial question or problem, it comes from the underlying issue that is sometimes hidden.  Because of that, I am going to start off with a note I would normally end on. I am hoping that it helps you to read this post with a different perspective than a defensive and “but you don’t understand” type of attitude. So here’s what should be at the very end of this post:

“At the end of the day, the only thing that needs to be addressed as far as the time issue goes is honesty. Honesty with yourself. See, time is just another excuse, it’s just another way to justify poor choices and destructive behavior. The real issue here is about priorities. So, maybe the next time you want to spew out the words “I don’t have time,” you should just be honest and say, “it’s just not a priority” because that’s what is really going on here. Ya know, maybe preparing veggies and moving your body isn’t a priority in your life, that’s fine, but please don’t make this about not having enough time. Please be honest with yourself and say, “it’s just not a priority”. Maybe, just maybe, by being honest with yourself you will start to contemplate what should become priorities instead of just writing it off as not enough time.”

Let’s dig. I’m not interested in writing about my crazy, busy life but I already know the first person that reads this is going to start the comparison game with me.  During my transition (and still to this day) my life is a whirlwind of crazy. My typical day starts before 5 am. and I generally get back home at around 7:30 pm. Weekends my alarm goes of at 4:15 am. My wife and I once went over 2 years without a single day off from work aside from Christmas Day.  I have a very busy career as a teacher and she has a commercial cleaning business that requires 72 buildings to be cleaned every week. We have no employees, we take care of every single building ourselves. Since the day I was 18 I have never worked just a 40 hour week or had just one full-time job. I didn’t go to college until I had 2 children that were around ten years old. I have earned multiple degrees while working a job and helping with my wife’s business.  We have rental property, a 1/4 acre garden, 40 ft. greenhouse, and raise over 3000 plants from seed in the basement. We have 2 children and we have done all the games and practices, and plays you can imagine. We also have ongoing projects as I do all my own auto maintenance and repair and home improvements. There’s more but I think you get the idea that i’m not just working a cushy job and then preaching to people about time management. I live in the real world and I have a crazy daily grind like most people.

My entire life has been plagued with the “us against them” mentality. I would see a clean cut guy out running in his fancy sportswear with bright sneakers and think, what a jerk, don’t you have something better to do? Don’t you have any responsibilities? I wish I had time to just waste prancing around the streets. I would actually have a terribly bitter attitude for this guy I had never even met. Gym memberships, fitness, cycling, even sneakers all brought me the same bitter attitude.  Until a few years ago I never owned a pair of sneakers my entire adult life. Work boots…… because that’s what you do, you work. Sneakers are for people that play and I just plain don’t have time to play. (It’s hilarious because I have more sneakers than a local Foot Locker now and a constant supply of new ones arrive often.)

That same “us against them” mentality spilled into the food realm. Who has time to cook? Busy people, I mean, people that really work, order food out because the are too busy to make a fancy meal or actually prepare food.  While the elite, well-to-do banker is able to grocery shop and watch the food channel to create an amazing dinner I was out working, and working people eat fast food because, well it’s fast, and we don’t have time for nonsense. If I had that wonderful life of the banker then maybe I would be bored enough to make my own food or prance like a privileged gazelle around the neighborhood. I just wasn’t privileged, I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon, my wife and I were tossed into a world where we just had to survive. Healthy food, healthy living, cooking, growing, and fitness were for people that had something that we didn’t ………….TIME.

So that’s where I was mentally most of my life. A couple months ago I was talking with someone about a plant-based lifestyle. The first issue that comes up, as always (money being a close second) was I don’t have time to cook all those meals from scratch. “I mean great, you buy a ton of veggies but now what? I have to turn all that into food and I just don’t have the time that you do.” Seriously *@#$%&* I may or may not have wanted to strangle the guy but instead I said, “awe, dude, you’re so right I was born with the 30 hour day and you got stuck with the 24, I do have more time than you.” (there may have been a tad of sarcasm) I’ve been thinking about this shift in my thinking lately.  How did I go from feeling bitter about a perfect stranger that had “extra” time to go for a jog to aggressively arguing about  taking the time to make real food and moving your body? Maybe the reality is that this has nothing to do with time. Maybe everyone is busy. Maybe time is indeed relative. Let’s be honest, it does take time to prepare and eat a plant-based diet. It does take time to become fit. Health is definitely an investment of time and effort not chance as most people would want you to believe. For me, I had been so focused on the time factor that I had lost the principle concept that, in the end, saved my life……… priority, yep, priority.  Time is fixed. Everyone has 24 hours and we are not promised how many we have left. The big idea that changed for me is finding out what is important. I had 24 hours, I couldn’t change that. Sure I could manipulate my sleep or multitask but I couldn’t make anymore time. What I could do is change HOW I used that time. Here’s how I started to change and I’m sure there are more ideas but these kicked me into a new way of thinking.

Post-its,  I know it’s weird but try it. It’s a great dose of reality. I had used time as an excuse for years, yet somehow I still loved watching TV. I spent many every night watching politics and tv shows. I could justify the content because most of what I watched was Discovery or History channel programming so I was getting educated. I realized that while I was in front of the TV I would carry on a mental conversation where I knew I needed to take the time to change but I could justify it by not having time…. Wait, What? I’m doing this while watching TV. The next evening I made my way to the couch to turn on the tube. Here’s what I saw…..20160630_082507

ouch. Every time I grabbed for the remote I had to face the message that I don’t have time while I set wasting time. Harsh, but effective.  Now I know someone is going to say you need time to relax. I appreciate that but I would argue that relaxing is quite relative. My ideal relaxation is going for a 5 mile run through the woods at 5 am. when nature is waking up and the world is still sleeping. That’s relaxation with benefits read this if you haven’t (click here for the link)  As a side note, a 5 mile run is equal to one TV show, just one. Whatever I thought would be non-productive time got a Post-it note and little by little priorities shifted. It still amazes me how much you can pack into a 24 hour period when you set your priorities straight.

The pie chart. I read this somewhere and I can’t remember where so someone should get the credit for this not me. I am a visual learner. Sometime seeing charts and graphs will give me a better understanding than just an idea. There are many different apps and programs available (most are free) or you can do it the old fashioned way with a compass and straight edge. Make a pie chart similar to this one. Obviously, work, commuting, and sleep are going to take up the majority of time. Here’s the cool thing about this. When I made a time budget my intentions were to find missing or wasted time to spend on getting healthy from a physical perspective. Something much bigger came to the surface though. After work and sleep the next priority would be spouse, family, faith, service, and whatever else you consider your “very high” proprieties that can’t be traded at any cost. Here’s what happened to me, I was ready to plot out time with my wife. How much time should I allot?  I meant, what is a fair time value to place on my soulmate, my everything? WOW, it’s a sobering thought because in a sense what you are asking is how much she is worth. There’s no need for details but whatever you think you spend on your top “very high” priorities you are probably not. I had to ask myself, Do i really spend even one hour with my wife? I’m not talking about being brain dead in front of the TV, I’m taking about being engaged with each other. As a side note, some of our most enjoyable time spent together is out for a run on a Saturday morning, which by the way, I never had time for. So make up a pie chart……NOT IN YOUR HEAD… There is definitely something about putting it on paper. Print it out and put in on your fridge. This is bigger than a plant-based diet, this is about getting the best out of each and every day.

20160703_105632

One more little thing that I think is worth noting. I’m working on a post on this and it will be a big part of my book someday but listen, this is not about removing anything from your life. Food, fitness , time, and healthy habits, the idea for me is always the same. If you open up and start pouring in the good, you will not have room for the bad. No one likes anything taken away from them. See it as adding new stuff instead of taking away old stuff. I was political junkie, big-time. The thought had never crossed my mind to walk away from the constant battles I so loved with regard to politics. It didn’t happen on purpose but some how I lost interest in it. I became so consumed with being outside enjoying nature and raising money and awareness for charities and races that I became involved with,  the political bickering just kinda fell out of my life. This has happened with so many of the things I used to think were so important and now looking back they were just unhealthy, corrosive wastes of time.

“At the end of the day, the only thing that needs to be addressed as far as the time issue goes is honesty. Honesty with yourself. See, time is just another excuse, it’s just another way to justify poor choices and destructive behavior. The real issue here is about priorities. So, maybe the next time you want to spew out the words “I don’t have time,” you should just be honest and say, “it’s just not a priority” because that’s what is really going on here. Ya know, maybe preparing veggies and moving your body isn’t a priority in your life, that’s fine, but please don’t make this about not having enough time. Please be honest with yourself and say, “it’s just not a priority”. Maybe, just maybe, by being honest with yourself you will start to contemplate what should become priorities instead of just writing it off as not enough time.”

 

 

 

 

Hey, check my Facebook page and connect with me on fatmanrants.com   (click here)

“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”

Until next time,

3 Comments

  1. Excellent post Tim. Your commitment to your health is evident in everything you say, do and share. Good job inspiring others to strive for the same commitment.

    • WOW. I never really put much thought into time slicing, but I am always saying to myself when you need something done on time, ask a busy person. They will know how to get it done. I have no idea where I heard it. You are a very inspiring person Tim. Thanks

  2. Maribeth Bradley

    August 18, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I’ll read your book .. When you get it published , thanks , great blog imho

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: